A teenage girl at Gangama Village in the Nongobabulum Chiefdom Bonthe District is currently in distress after undergoing a hurting and harmful female genital mutilation that left her bleeding for days.
Explaining her ordeals to this reporter in tears the teenage girl name withheld said “I just woke up one morning doing my normal domestic work before going to school, my aunt asked me to follow her to a near bye Bondo bush for work.”
Moments later, “I heard women singing, drumming and dancing in a thatch-fence closed to the forest, with an isolated hut in the middle, old and young women roaming about in a passionate atmosphere”.
“My aunt arrogantly dragged me in their midst and forced me into the bondo bush since then several ceremonies were performed on me tha it cannot reveal to any journalists,” she said.
The teenage girl explained that her life became miserable and pale “my face was white washed with mud and several beads were tied on my waist and chest and ankles, my movements was also restricted.”
“I protested and cried in front of the old women surrounding me, but sadly no body listened to my cries and pleas” My life was in hell at the bondo bush and she also complained of psychological trauma during her period in the bush.
She also disclosed that rumors started to filter in the bondo bush that a 45 year old disabled man has paid for the initiation cost, feeding and dressing as a requisite for her hand in marriage.
She also explained that “it all started when a 45 year old disabled man named Alusine visited her Gbabngba village to do business, days later he asked my parents that he wanted to marry me but never though he could have done that to me without my consent.
This reporter also caught up with the mother of the teenage girl who expressed her disappointment to her husband about the forceful initiation and marriage but he never listened to her advice.
Statistics from UNIFEM indicates that 80% of teenagers are still being forced on female genital mutilation in the country and officers at the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs also explained to this reporter that there is no policy or laws to discourage FGM practice in the country despite the several campaigns to discourage the practice.
Human Right activist contacted on the issue on condition of anonymity also expressed shock and dismay over the cruelty perpetrated on teenage girls on FGM and forced marriage. They called on the government and NGO’s to intensify the campaign against FGM and forced marriage.
Though three gender laws have been enacted into law their implementation is still crucial for the protection and welfare of the girl child in Sierra Leone. By Saidu Bah